Tim Akano, CEO New Horizons task INEC to Carry out Stress Test on BVAS before Election
Mr. Tim Akano, the Chief Executive Officer of New Horizons Nigeria said that in order to ensure that there is stronger security protection for data transmission before the February 25th, 2023, general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should conduct a stress test on Data-in-Motion or in Transit on Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), before the election proper.
Akano made the call while speaking on a topic themed “understanding privacy and online risk in the digital world today,” to mark this year’s World Data Privacy Day, organized by the Data and Knowledge Privacy Protection Initiative.
He noted that the February 25th, 2023 general election will be the first time in the history of the country that live data will be used to determine who will be the next president of the country.
Akano explained that the inferno that can burn us as a country is the use of live data that is vulnerable to attack, adding that it is in the best interest of INEC in particular and Nigeria, in general, to pay more than casual attention to what we call the man in the middle attack, which hackers can exploit to intercept, modify, or retransmit election data while in motion or in transit.
In his words: “there is nothing more important in Nigeria today than the success of the February election, and we are a country of about 222 million, and nothing must go wrong because entire West African coast, from Benin Republic to Togo to Ghana, does not have the infrastructure to sustain us.”
Akano also cited some instances where conflicting results in other countries had led to untold bloodbath, stressing that between 2007 and 2008, Kenya witnessed an untold bloodbath arising from conflicting election results, while in 2010 and 2011, Mr. Devil himself took over the affairs of Ivory Coast when conflicting election results were announced.
“In 2016, Russia was alleged to have influenced the American presidential elections through technology, and in the recent Osun governorship Tribunal judgment, three types of BVAS results on the same election were alleged to have been tendered and this should not because Maths is exact, absolute,” he said.
According to the 2022 Securonix Threat: The report, reveals that insiders were involved in 57 per cent of data breaches and there are new technological solutions to this if INEC cares to prevent that.
He commended INEC for the end-to-end encryption they have done for the technology, however, he call on INEC Chairman on the need to urgently to talk to some Nigerian Cyber security practitioners and appoint some devil’s advocate who will conduct a stress test on BVAS DIM (Data- in- Motion) before the wholesale adoption on February 25th, adding that it is common practice for big companies such as Microsoft and Oracle to carry out test on new develop software by calling on strong hackers to test it and see if they can hack into it easily, and if they can, then they go back to their lab to ensure they work on it.
Akano, therefore advised that going forward, INEC should carry out an upgrade after the election to ensure that the issue of over voting does not arise from BVAS by building in a technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) which will alert you when over voting arises from the pooling unit.